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Glen Onoko falls trail to be closed May 1

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    Bridal Falls is the second set of waterfalls at Glen Onoko. The trail to the falls will close May 1 because of the issues with people being injured. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO

Published April 15. 2019 03:23PM


The falls trail at Glen Onoko, a popular but sometimes dangerous destination for hikers located on gamelands outside of Jim Thorpe, will close May 1 according to officials with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Numerous people have been injured at the falls over the years, including several deaths. The decision was made to protect human life — both hikers and the volunteer firefighters who have to rescue them, a game commission official said.

According to the game commission, 2018 was the first time in several years that there were no fatalities at the falls.

Warning signs at the falls have become legendary for their stern warnings about injuries and death, cautioning hikers to use the falls at their own risk.

On May 1, those signs will come down and new ones will go up stating that the falls is closed to the public.

Under state law, someone who ignores the signs and hikes the falls could be cited for $100-$200.


The Pennsylvania Game Commission? Who are they? How have they gained so much power? The fools buying hunting licenses, need to just forgo the hunt (at least with a license) for two or three years, and the Game Commission won't have the manpower to regulate game yet alone hikers... HIKERS! You can't make this stuff up!
It might seem like it's the few that ruin it for the many, but in this case, it's the many that ruin it for the few. There are signs posted so that you do not get into dangerous areas but very few (yes, even the people who think they are responsible hikers) adhere to them. Almost daily the ambulance and volunteer (volunteer!) fire crews have to rescue one or more people and many times injuries are major or fatal. These many rescues drain the resources of these volunteer companies.... when you are in the process of a rescue, you can't stop to ask for a credit card to pay for your foolishness. Enforcing payment is time consuming and financially draining as well. It also takes these crews away from potentially worse situations. And, as someone said down below,,, there are many that destroy the beauty with trash, spray paint, etc. They think someone else should be responsible for their actions. I hate to see the falls closed, but it's no longer a thing of beauty, it's a reminder that more and more our population is irresponsible and doesn't deserve to visit this site.
The death count of this article ironically, goes back to when the State Took Charge. They added parking and turned it in to a ma, pa buddy and sis adventure in flip flops. It's become out of control. Nothing Grant Money won't fix. $$$$$$$$$$$$$
volunteer companies are funded by the township. some cases states and counties by grants,... they can stop taking tax payer money then. i cover interstate 78. i'm tired of shoveling body parts of drunk teenagers into body bags. they can also stop coin tosses at this point. no need for money... now we are going to spend more money patrolling the area. couldn't we of patrolled the area and fined previously? as for the volunteers. well. if they volunteer. dont answer the pager. that simple.
Then i guess im going to pay fines if i get caught because i have hiked there for over 20 years and i haven't had issues because i use common sense and dont hike in fucking flip flops or other improper footwear. Will that be cash?
Another Deviant Republican. The rules don't apply to me. I'm white. I'm smarter than you. I can use the F word. Too bad there isn't a fine for being an arrogant asshole.
DO, here you go again. Republicans believe in personal responsibility. If you get high, if you wear improper footwear, if you fall over the edge...that is on you. That is a shame. But, why penalize everyone for the mistakes of one? That, DO, is the problem with everything these days. You Liberal whack jobs ruin everything. You, DO, are a rude condescending racist punk. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are vulgar and insulting. If you were smarter you would realize how wrong you were. Government intervention is the Democratic way of protecting the people from hurting themselves. Why are deer, and bears smarter than human beings, since they avoid the edge?
Me thinks you got your names mixed up. Surely you're referring to the condescending, vulgar, disgusting, cowardly orange draft dodger you bow before. The right wingnuts are at least consistent in always being hypocrites when holding others to a standard they will excuse at all costs for the sh*t stain on America they call their demented dear leader. But that is love, like a teenager they are smitten, devoid of common sense, infatuated with their obsession, drooling, slobbering all over themselves in love with a "man" that allows them to bring out their inner racism and unAmerican hatred of their fellow citizens. Don't hate the right wing nuts just give them what they deserve pity, pity, pity for they always see themselves as the victim and you know, everyone else is to blame for their problems and their lover Drumpf is going to make it all better. Make America Great Again and DUMP TRUMP.
Harold it's generally the party that passes excessive laws and regulations that believe that laws and rules don't really apply to them. If you need any examples just ask Leland Yee. Civil disobedience also used to be a thing of the left back in the 60's, but it seems it was replaced with vandalism of random Starbucks locations and spilling out trash cans. It's a shame, because the party used to be a lot more effective back in the day.
Little diggy have your mommy up your meds please and I take it she forgot to turn your internet access off again as we have to look at its IDIOT ramblings! If there was a fine for that you would be poor!!!
Unfortunately, the city and out-of-state creeps have ruined this site for everyone. Lack of respect, not wearing the right protective equipment, drugs, spray painting the rocks. Seriously, what kind of loser walks into the woods with a can of spray paint?!? Just this past weekend some people were sitting on the falls ledge smoking weed, and when something happens, our local firefighters and emergency personnel have to make sacrifices to assist these people. This takes valuable manpower away from the town.
This has to be to dumbest use of logic our state and local officials have acted on in years. I'm sure there will not be a man power issue to enforce trespassing to generate fines and revenue. Close Beltzville Beach area to stop the pollution which is a human life issue. Stop river rafting which is hazardous. All those things the Northeast is noted for will be ending if this dumb logic is applied to critical thinking. Dumb dumb dumb.
Can you say Darwin Award? Seriously, if I was able to get to the top safely it’s not. Matter of agility. People are stupid and now have ruined it for all.
Yeap, it is usually a few that ruin it for all. JT, DCNR, and the Game should have singled out charged the reckless ones for their rescues, but that would take backbone.
Sign the petition!!

This is an exceptionally beautiful local treasure. I hiked it last summer with my 16 year old grandson...and not to have gotten to the top of the falls would have been such a disappointment... it is not right or fair to close this hike to sensible, law abiding, nature loving people. Accidents happen..but mostly to the careless , self-centered and spite of warnings.... Keep it open!!!
Yeup, sadly, wonder if the Jim Thorpe folks thought what this may do to their economy. We were planning another trip there, the falls were the #1 reason for the return trip. I guess we will go somewhere else.
They should change the PAGC motto to "protecting you from your fate" and change the logo to a parent wrapping their kid with bubble wrap and pillows. Next hunting season the trees are off limits, ground hunting only. No mountains either, too high.
The PAGC is primarily funded through game and fur taker license fees, so...
The Wardens have gained far more power than was ever conceived. I'll stay away, the wardens probably have the power to seize private property of violators.
How about firing and fining the boneheads who thought it was a good idea to put an easy access road in and a large parking area that accommodates bus loads of city folks who do not belong on these trails, they are not sidewalks. I've been visiting these falls in all weather conditions since the early 70s and the worst thing I've ever seen was the addition of that road giving easy access to people who simply don't belong on those trials due to inexperience, no respect for nature or flat out stupidity. I'm OK if they close it on weekends It's too crowded for me anyhow. Those in charge created this mess don't punish the rest of us for your stupidity.
It seems in the past, JT borough contacted the Wolf adminstrations DCNR and Game Commission. Remember???? The said some or all of the trail could not closed. Yet here all the sudden part of it is closed. I guess all it takes is for one drug addict or alien to fall, then Wolf springs into action. Strange times we live in.
A mass suicide is scheduled for 4/30/19 to protest the gummit taking away my rights to be stupid
Be there or be square
The fools will now be trespassing, so possibly the fire-rescue squads will be able to recover expenses from these idiots.
Sure, lets just keep taking things away from responsible people and rewarding the idiots of the world... makes sense. How about instead of fining responsible people for enjoying something safely you fine the people who deserve it, those who hike unprepared, intoxicated, under the influence or just plainly disregard safety, that seems more fair. If you need to be rescued be prepared to pay for the cost of that rescue. If I need an ambulance I have to pay for it, not sure why the same wouldn't apply here. We really have to learn to impose penalties on those that deserve it versus taking rewards away from those of us who know how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.
15 or so years ago the Game Commission closed the game lands to mountain bikes. I think they eventually eased off some but still there wasn't the epic rescue's needed compared to what is required at the Glen. I think a solution could be found that would allow access to the site but it will require time and money to build reasonably safe passage up and down the mountain. The owner of the land is the one carrying the liability which is then ultimately passed on to the commonwealth tax payers so something a little more legitimate than sliding 30 feet downhill on your backside on a lose rock and dirt surface or crossing streams with rapid flowing water and no clear footing and handgrabs makes at least some sense.
Though your idea may seem rational, our litigious society will file law suits for injuries claiming failing, [or more often misused] fencing and other structures designed by their mere presence to act as a deterrence to stupidity.
State owned lands is social land ownership, which not only smells like socialism, it is.
It all started with good sounding intentions, and then the state restricts some here, and then some there, and before you know it, they control your land (social land bought with your money), and you get nothing from it. This is just the beginning folks. A sample if you will.
I could care less what the PA dept of whatever says I am still hiking there it is beautiful! And shout out to Judd I am saving my pennies right now.
If property ownership for that land had been private, we would never have known what we lost. I suppose Mike's point is its better to have never had access than to have it taken away.

If all land was private the opportunities for outdoor recreation would be so limited in this state it would be horrible. I for one am very happy the state invests in keeping access to land for us all.
This is 100% bull. My family hiked there and my daughter was EIGHT. We are responsible, respectful and ACCOUNTABLE for our own actions (which seems to be qualities lacking in many today) and guess what? No injuries. Huh, go figure, wonder how those trails did not hurt us? Oh yeah, we weren't stupid about it. Sad that people who can't use common sense ruin it for everyone.
I'm glad I did my hiking there in the '80s. Every weekend. No trouble. No city assholes. No accidents. The state got involved and all went to shit. Just like anything else they touch.
EMTs are compelled to rescue people that overdosed on heroine and other drugs. These rescuses are done is unsafe places and conditions, like at night in cities at taxpayer expense.

So why is the the Commonwealth saying no hiker rescues but here is tons of money for training and narcan. In other words, the policy is inconsistent. They will do anything to save the addicts, but not a hiker. I don;t care either way, but the inconsistent policy from harrisburg is a head scratcher.
look. f jt. go to buttermilk falls.. see how it is properly done. and o yeah. next time you go to JT or its supporting entities area.. and there is a coin toss, flip them the bird not a 5. and also tell the county to lower the taxes since the fire department doesn't want to rescue you.
I first hiked Glen Onoko in 1974 or 1975. Back then you parked in the Leisureland development, which was, at that time, just 2 or 3 houses. You had to locate a trail that took you around the face of the cliff over the railroad tunnel and you descended by the side of the tunnel. 4 railroad tracks including 2 through the tunnel were active at that time. You then trespassed on the railroad right-of-way, crossed the river and then tried to locate the perpetually overgrown trailhead access. The hike to the trail was more strenuous than the trail itself. Back then it was all hard core hikers. No flip flops, sandals, or sneakers to be seen. You understood the risks, but the sheer beauty, the unspoiled ruggedness was the reward.
Remember that at the turn of the 20th century the Wahnetah Hotel was located at the foot of The Glen. Trains would stop to take on water for steam from the Lehigh River, passengers would disembark and they could walk the trails to the falls for 10 cents admission. The hotel burned down in 1911 and its remains were finally cleared in 1917. From that time until I believe about the mid 1980’s, Glen Onoko was still private property. When the Lehigh Gorge State Park was created in 1980, The PA Game Commission annexed the Glen on to its adjoining game lands situated on top of the Broad Mountain off Route 93.
I’ve hiked Glen Onoko probably close to 100 times, and yes, its popularity is what has caused its demise. I’ve lost count of how many ill-prepared “hikers” I’ve seen over mostly the past 15 years. Sneakers, flip flops, Crocs, high heels, and even bare footed individuals on the trails at various times. I’ve become a fierce safety advocate there, some of my friends would even denote me as being a “trail Nazi” or “footwear Nazi”. I’ve assisted quite a few people who were bewildered or just unprepared for how rigorous and unforgiving the Glen can be. Sadly, I could see this day coming. And to disparage the first responders who make it their duty to safely extract victims off the trail, is extremely selfish. The average rescue takes 3-1/2 to 4 hours with a minimum of 25-30 people involved.
I haven’t even dwelled on the piles of trash that had accumulated over the years. I’ve personally hauled approximately 1/2 ton of garbage off the trails over the years, including, most memorably, a hula hoop I found floating in a pool halfway up the mountain. Seriously, who takes a hula hoop along for a hike.
So it was bittersweet that I took my final Glen Onoko hike this past Friday. And to you people who are proudly boasting of hiking it illegally, you are just exacerbating the problem. Leave the place alone. You’re not going to help the situation by trespassing. If anything, you’ll just succeed in keeping it off limits for responsible citizens for a longer period of time. Goodbye Glen Onoko, my old friend. Thank you for the great memories

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